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Advanced Stop Line - John C. Kirk

Feb. 28th, 2013

04:04 pm - Advanced Stop Line

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From:johnckirk
Date:March 1st, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
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The text in the letter above matches rule 178 on the Highway Code website. However, rule 178 in my printed copy (revised 2004) is completely different: "Look carefully before you start reversing." ASLs are covered in rule 154, which was also a bit different:

"154. Advanced stop lines. Some junctions have advanced stop lines or bus advance areas to allow cycles and buses to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached, and should avoid encroaching on the marked area. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists and buses time and space to move off when the green signal shows.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 43(2)."

So, buses are no longer allowed in and they've made it a bit clearer about when motor vehicles are supposed to stop.

When I did my driving test in 1995, advanced stop lines didn't exist. (Similarly, there were only single/double yellow lines, not red lines.) I didn't have to do a theory test, although I later took one for my motorbike test (c. 2001). So, I suspect that there are a lot of drivers with out of date knowledge, if they haven't made an effort to keep up to date with the latest version of the Highway Code. Personally, I think that everyone with a photo driving licence should have to repeat the theory test every 10 years when they renew the licence, to avoid this type of problem.

In London, there are a lot of drivers who completely ignore the ASL, i.e. they'll drive up when the light is red and park on top of the cycle logo. (I saw that last night on my way home.) As you say, other drivers will stop at the first white line and then "crawl" forwards slowly. I see motorbikes doing this too; they may be confused because they're now allowed into bus lanes. I had one bizarre situation a couple of years ago: a van stopped correctly at the first white line, but then the driver got quite upset when I went past and stopped in front of him at the second white line, because he thought that I'd slow him down when the lights changed.

Back in 2010, someone made a Freedom of Information request to the police, asking whether any motorists in London had been penalised for entering the ASL box. The police said no, but that's because they treat this as failing to stop at a red light, so entering the ASL box is equivalent to driving past the traffic light.

A few people have been discussing this issue in the CTC forum. They all seem happy enough about the rules for motorists, but there's a bit of controversy about the rules for cyclists, i.e. the idea that we're only allowed to enter via the feeder lane rather than crossing the white line. In some cases (e.g. near East Croydon) there isn't a feeder lane; the white line stops by the double yellow lines, but I'd have to cycle in the "gutter" in order to get in, and I'd then be passing vehicles on the left when they're getting ready to turn left, which is just asking for trouble if the lights change.

The police letter refers to regulation 10 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, and that regulation has a list of diagrams. However, the ASL is diagram 1001.2 (p101 of the traffic signs manual) which isn't mentioned in regulation 10, so that implies that this regulation doesn't apply here. I'm going to email Ms Harrison back and ask for clarification on this.

Edited at 2013-03-01 07:20 pm (UTC)
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